STEM Volunteer Program Highlights
- Designed to support K-12 STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education, foster STEM literacy, and motivate students to pursue STEM careers.
- Recruits volunteers from the science, engineering, mathematics, and medical communities in the Washington Metro area.
- Based on RE-SEED and TOPS, volunteer efforts launched in the 1990s.
- Began in 2004 in Montgomery County, Maryland and now includes Fairfax County, cities of Alexandria, Arlington, and Falls Church) in Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
- More than 200 volunteers were engaged in school year 2019-2020. 80% are retirees.
Fundamentals of Volunteering
- Assist K-12 STEM teachers in the classroom throughout the school year
- Work in schools for a few hours one day per week, if retired, or a few hours every two to three weeks if still working
- Attend a one-day training in September that includes presentations by current volunteers and information from school district staff
- Assigned based on individual preferences, teacher requests, and commuting distances.
Once assigned to a classroom, a volunteer may:
- Work with individual/teams of students to encourage questions about STEM topics
- Relate STEM to real-world experiences
- Be a resource for the teacher and students
- Help teachers with science fairs
- Develop activities jointly with teachers
- Explore opportunities for field trips/other programs
- Advise students during lab experiments, scientific investigations, and projects
- Complement the teacher's presentations and add a practical perspective if needed
- Work with teachers to enhance/improve course content
- Make presentations based on your expertise when appropriate
- Help teachers design experimental challenges